After my little experimental effort with Opus in the freeware PhonerLite soft phone I reached out to a variety of people seeking advice about other software supporting this new codec. Someone suggested that I try Countherpath’s Bria.
Counterpath is the single most recognized name in the commercial soft phone space. Their Bria, Eyebeam and X-Lite products have a lengthy history. They have at various times graced several generations of my computers and handheld mobile devices.
Since their software is already on my Nexus 4 & 7 Android devices I had a quick look but found that Opus was not actually supported in the current releases. On that basis I contacted Todd Carothers, Executive Vice President, Marketing & Products at CounterPath Corporation.
Todd informed me that Opus support is presently limited to their soft clients on iOS, but that broad support for the codec is in the works. He advised that Opus support across their entire range of soft phones is expected in just a few weeks.
This news is certainly encouraging as I still would like to try some experimentation with the codec in support of some non-traditional applications. The availability of a commercial implementation will open doors to adoption by non-technical users like Mike Phillips.
Tuesday I had an opportunity to try Telesphere’s new VideoConnect service. VideoConnect is a video conference service targeting what’s loosely called the “SMB” sector. That is, businesses smaller than typically use hardware-centric telepresence or video conferencing solutions.
To understand VideoConnect to helps to first frame up Telesphere, who are a Phoenix AZ based provider of hosted Voice/UC services based upon the Broadsoft cloud. Telesphere’s service offering also leverages their private, managed MPLS network. That means that they provide a private connection to end-user sites, ensuring that their services are delivered without issues of QoS/QoE.
During this weeks VUC call I was at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh PA. I was sitting monitoring some equipment in the Art Department, which is is physically located in the basement of the building at One Gateway Center.
There in the basement my cell phone was only able to get an EDGE connection to T-Mobile. Of course, CBS won’t let me on their network with my laptop or netbook. As a result, all week long I’ve been making use of my now aged Sprint 3G Mifi for general internet access.
Last week I installed the very latest version of Counterpath’s Bria Android Edition on my G2. To this point I’d only used it to make a couple of test calls around my office. This day I used it to join the ZipDX wideband conference bridge.
The past week or so my attention was wholly consumed by the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters. Held in Las Vegas each April the NAB exhibition is the major event in the year of a broadcast equipment maker. This was my 18th NAB, which makes the more a test of stamina than anything else.
Happily, the show was for my employer a considerable success. Attendance has returned to reasonable levels. It seems that broadcasters are feeling better about their existence. Globally broadcasters are starting to move forward with long stalled projects. New channels will be launched and existing services enhanced. It all bodes well for the manufacturing sector of the industry, presuming that manufacturers have toughed out the recent slow period and continued to develop products that improve the operating efficiency of customers.
For our company the one major annoyance of NAB 2011 was the complete failure of wifi on the show floor. From the last day of setup to the close of the event wifi was essentially useless. This was not a huge problem, but a considerable inconvenience. In our case it meant that the many sales and executive staff present could only access email via a wired network connection.
A few weeks ago Counterpath released a version of their Bria SIP soft phone specifically for the Android platform. This was one of the factors that influenced my purchase of a T-Mobile G2. I’ve had the G2 for a few weeks and have been mostly very pleased with the device. My twitter stream has reflected various experiments using it during recent travels.
Counterpath was good enough to provide a licence for their Bria SIP soft phone which dovetails nicely with my employers OnSIP hosted PBX. As I have been travelling a bit these past few weeks I’ve not made much use of Bria until very recently.
For an in depth look at Bria on Android you should look at the OnSIP site as the staff over there have posted a nicely detailed review. They report some crashing of the application, which has not been my experience but I expect that the user experience varies with hardware platform.
Around my home office, and on my local Wifi, I find that Bria Android Edition is stable and reliable. It seems to handle calling extensions local and remote without any NAT issues.